Best rechargeable torches 2022

We test essential rechargeable torches that you can keep fully powered up in the glovebox

Keeping a torch in your car is a great idea for emergencies, repairs or just packing in fading light after a weekend away. But they’re only any good if the batteries are ready to go, and the way to ensure that is with a rechargeable torch. 

Most come complete with a USB lead, so can be recharged in-car with a suitable adaptor. All torches tested used LEDs, which provide lots of light without the heat and high battery drain of a conventional bulb, making them ideal for keeping in the car. We charged up seven to see which would best light up your life.

How we tested them

Each torch was run on its highest setting for an hour and we then tried them under the bonnet, in the garage and over a distance of 30, 50 and 100 metres.

We logged the various modes and output options, and looked for a good balance between weight, length and battery capacity. A zoom – spot to wide – is always useful, and we looked for extras such as a lanyard, pouch, magnetic base or alkaline battery option. 

A good warranty shows confidence in a product while an official rating against dust and/or moisture (usually IP) means it should cope with life outdoors. Price was the final factor.

Verdict

This was a very tight test across the board. The Coast HP7R and NightSearcher 1000-R were extremely close, but the former’s performance and specification just take the win. 

The NightSearcher is a great option if £90 for a glovebox torch is beyond your budget. The highly specified and protected Ledlenser was a close third.

  1. Coast HP7R Rechargeable LED Torch Kit
  2. Nightsearcher Zoom 1000-R LED Rechargeable Flashlight
  3. Ledlenser P5R Core

Reviews

Coast HP7R Rechargeable LED Torch Kit

The box contained two 2.4Ah rechargeable batteries, an alkaline pack with four AAAs, a textile pouch, wall clip and belt clip. We liked the simple sliding zoom control around the head and ability to charge on or off the torch. 

It was a tad weighty, at 204g, and there were only two power modes, but performance was excellent both on spot and wide. With a five-year warranty and IP54 water resistance, you’ll never want for light. 

Buy now from Torch Direct

NightSearcher Zoom 1000-R LED Rechargeable Flashlight

This torch has a five-year warranty and is waterproof to IP66, so can resist jets of water. Despite having a 2.6Ah battery, it only weighed 169g, which combined with a length of 141mm to make it easy to use. 

We liked the four conventional light modes, plus an 80Hz flashing emergency option. The run time was between 4-50 hours depending on the mode used. If you don’t need the back-up power of the Coast, you can save a useful £40 with this one. 

Buy now from Amazon

Ledlenser P5R Core

The P5R Core charges its 750mAh battery via a clip-on magnetic induction cable, a neat and easy way to do the job. It offered a back-up mode (limiting output to 15 lumens for an hour when the battery hits 25 per cent charge) and could be programmed to add boost, position, blink, SOS, and strobe modes if needed. 

The IP68 accreditation provides total protection against dust and water ingress. Other pluses were the light 106g weight, default high, mid and low modes, and the lock function to prevent accidental use. 

Buy now from Torch Direct

Ring Zoom 300 LED Rechargeable Torch RIT1050

We still like the Zoom 300, a previous group test winner. It is no longer available at Halfords, and the price has increased by £10 since the last test, although the specification remains the same.

Its 2.2Ah battery provided plenty of available power, however it was once more the heaviest we tried, at 230g. Its magnetic base made it useful for close-up work and the charging socket (for phones etc) under the end cap widened its appeal. It only had two light modes (high and low), but there was lots of controllable power, although we’d prefer a slide rather than screw zoom control. 

Buy now from Toolstation

Sealey LED451 Super Boost Rechargeable LED 30W Pocket Light

At just 105mm, this stubby Sealey was the shortest torch we tried, making it ideal for storing almost anywhere. Its powerful 2Ah battery meant it was heavier than some and it didn’t have a zoom function. 

Yet its quoted 1,400-lumen power output gave impressive performance via the standard high, medium and low modes. It didn’t reach as far as some, but it was extremely useful. For times when even more light is needed it could boost to 3,500 lumen for bursts of 35 seconds, but care was required because this created a lot of heat. 

Buy now from Amazon

Sealey Rechargeable Aluminium Torch LED449

This Sealey was more conventional, with an aluminium case and useful 2Ah battery. It was quite bulky, at 170mm and 218g. We’d have preferred more light modes, but the high and low (100 and 30 per cent, but no flashing) did work surprisingly well for distance and close-up work respectively. 

The zoom is a mechanical screw design and went from very wide to an oddly square spot, with a series of indents that locked effectively, but felt a bit clunky. It wasn’t our favourite, but at this price it was workmanlike and good value for money. 

Buy now from Amazon

NightSearcher Explorer Mini

The Mini was easily the lightest torch we tested, at a mere 85g, and the shortest, at 119mm. With its USB-C connection, the claimed recharge time of two hours was good and the quoted 400-lumen output meant there was lots of power on tap. 

The end cap-mounted button toggled through the high, medium, low and flashing modes to give plenty of versatility, but there was no zoom function, which limited its use. Although it doesn’t have a huge power output or lots of options, its scaled-down dimensions make it really handy for keeping in a pocket, bag or door bin. 

Buy now from Steel City Lighting

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